Tracks: To All the Girls; Shake Your Rump; Johnny Ryall; Egg Man; High Plains Drifter; The Sounds of Science; 3-Minute Rule; Hey Ladies; 5-Piece Chicken Dinner; Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun; Car Thief; What Comes Around; Shadrach; Ask for Janice; B-Boy Bouillabaisse
Best track: Shake Your Rump
Tracks to skip: High Plains Drifter, Sounds of Science, 3-Minute Rule, Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun, Car Thief, What Comes Around, B-Boy Bouillabaisse
Most Beastie Boys fans regard this album as the group’s best, a severely underrated classic. I completely disagree. Maybe it’s because I’m only a casual fan, but for me this one is a massively boring album. I’m willing to bet that I’m the only one who feels this way. So be it; I don’t care. One of the main problems I have with this album is that it’s either hot or cold. Some of the tracks are excellent, while the rest seem to be absolutely dreadful, and worse, boring. There are 15 tracks here and 7 of them are outright boring. As I listened through this, that’s the best adjective I could think of for these bad songs: boring. I did pinpoint what I think a lot of the problem with this album is. Most of the tracks I skip have what sounds like a “pot haze” to them. Maybe the album sounds better if you’re stoned, but if you’re not…most of these songs are incredibly boring. I’m not going to point out all the instances because it’s well over half of the album. And that doesn’t bode well for anything, regardless of who it is.
It’s frustrating with the bad stuff, because the good stuff is truly excellent on here and light years better than on the first album. The great songs here are Shake Your Rump, Egg Man, Hey Ladies & Shadrach. Shake Your Rump is definitely the best song here. It’s got a fantastic groove and I love that big ass bass hit that happens every so often during the song. This song especially shows significant growth from the band in the 3 years since License to Ill. As someone who frequently participated in “extracurricular activities” involving eggs back in high school, I definitely have an affinity for Egg Man. The lyrics are great on this one. Shadrach has a ton of great rhymes as well. On Hey Ladies (a wonderful wakeup call in the middle of all those hazy songs) I love their use of including samples as part of the lyrics and rhyme scheme: “She Thinks She’s the Passionate One” is great. Even though I don’t care for the song at all, I love the Beatles sample in Sounds of Science. The samples on this album are definitely inventive. All throughout, even on the crappy songs, how the band used samples, both musical and lyrical, is highly creative.
While Paul’s Boutique has significantly more groove and creativity than on License to Ill, there’s still the issue of the bad songs and I simply can’t get past that. Seven outright bad songs compared with only 4 really great ones makes for a very difficult listen. No matter how much I’ve listened to this album, I’ll never be one of those that claim it’s a masterpiece. So far from it, it’s not even funny. I’ll let the hardcore fans have this one – it’s not for me.